The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor’s brush with canvas

she is a rare combination of a busy gynaecologist, who is also an artist with several exhibitions to her credit. She is a cook as well who can serve up anything from posto to biryani. She, along with Minakshi De, is holding an exhibition organised by Gallery Katayun and the Art Collector at the Academy of Fine Arts from November 17 to 23.

Born to a Bengali Hindu family, Nabanita Javed was raised and educated in Kanpur. This explains her fluency in Hindi. She passed out from the Kanpur Medical College and settled down in Calcutta in 1991, when her father was posted here. She was always fond of painting and she felt she missed the “creative outlet” when she was doing her medical studies and there was “no question” of straying. This troubled her. Yet, lacking time there was no way she could indulge her creative instinct. For after passing out, there was “the grind of establishing yourself”, and she worked round the clock.

Once she found a “foothold”, Nabanita started painting in right earnest. She had no formal training and she felt technique was her weak point. So she read art books and surfed the Net for long hours to travel through the virtual galleries.

She married Muzaffar Javed, an M. Tech from IIT Kanpur, in 1993. She says her parents did not object to the match for he was a topper in every field. And at her in-laws’, she is the “most pampered one”. They are from Bihar and very liberal, she says. Her husband is “very positive” about her involvement with art and has encouraged her to “take time out and do what you really want to do”. Painting tirelessly, by 2001 she had a good body of work. Artists she knew asked her to exhibit them.

She does not use her paintings to make “statements”. They are “more a reflection of your innards”. But in one work she shows how all religions are basically the same and fundamentalists “target human beings’ very base instincts”.

Both she and her husband avidly study Western astrology. She says it is not fortune telling but is a combination of mythology and philosophy. Some of her images come from there. As a painter now she is a lot more confident but is in a dilemma. She paints for “real enjoyment” and has many “different techniques”.

“I keep changing to avoid boredom,” she says with a smile. But now she feels the need to “evolve her own language.” Nabanita photographs her own work with a digital camera and makes prints of them.

What does she plan to do next' She would like to take a break from her busy schedule and visit America and join a workshop. But Nabanita, the gynaecologist, cannot be away for more that six weeks. Her profession demands her presence all the time.

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